Brisbane, QLD

Thursday, August 25, 2016


When I visited kangaroo Island off the coast of South Australia, I went to a bird show. The birds and their trainers were amazing. I can't remember the names of the birds but I will have a guess. Please correct me if I make a mistake.
 At the trainer's call, this owl appeared out of its hole.

 It swooped down to sit on the trainer's glove and it was given a mouse to eat.

 Then it hopped onto the tourist's laps where we could gently touch it. It was so soft.

 After the owl went back in its hole another bird appeared out of the sky and came to the trainer. A Hobby Falcon.

 A Nankeen Kestrel

 The funniest character was the Black Breasted Buzzard.

 It showed us how it could pick up a stone and throw it down on an emu egg to break it open to eat the inside. It is a fake egg for the show and it has a meat treat inside.

 The trainer has another treat in his glove.

 The birds kept getting bigger. I think this is the Sea Eagle.

 It is a beautiful bird.

 There were two trainers and they had a wonderful rapport with the birds. They told us how the birds were rescued from injury some are returned to the wild and some stay in the park.

 These kookaburras were funny. Their names were Banjo and Clancy. That made me smile since my grandson is called Banjo. (Banjo Patterson, the poet, wrote the poem "Clancy of the Overflow"as well as many more including "Waltzing Matilda")

A black kite

 The trainer had a friendly chat with a Wedged Tailed Eagle.

 He showed us how big his wings are.

A marvellous huge bird.
There were still more amazing things to see on the island.
Thanks to Stewart from "Paying Ready Attention" for fixing some of my ID's.

Friday, August 19, 2016

FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM (Kangaroo Island 1)

After out Savannah Way tour we had planned to catch "The Ghan" train from Darwin to Adelaide in South Australia. It travels right through the middle of Australia from the top to the bottom. It would have been a three day trip with stop overs in outback towns. Unfortunately, the train itinerary and times changed at the last minute and we weren't able to get a connection to match up with our hotel and our flight home bookings. So instead we flew to Adelaide and booked a tour to Kangaroo Island.

In the afternoon we arrived in Adelaide after a three and a half hour flight from Darwin. We checked into our apartment and later found a lovely Italian Restaurant for dinner. It was freezing cold compared to up north. Luckily we had packed winter clothes too.

 The next morning we were picked up at 6:30am for a trip to Kangaroo Island for two days. It is a two hour bus ride through the Fleurier Peninsular to Jervis Bay and then 45 mins on the ferry. Luckily, the sea was calm.

 Another coach picked us up and we started the tour. 

 The island is known for its cold windy weather but we were very lucky and had warmish  winter days. First stop was Pennington Bay where we saw beautiful pristine beaches with no buildings. Then we visited an Eucalyptus Oil distillery . We were shown how the oil is made from specially grown, narrow leafed Eucalyptus Trees. Afterwards, had a delicious hot lunch at Vivonne Bay.

 The best part of the day was a visit to Seal Bay, where there is a colony of Australian Sea Lions. These are a very rare type of seal with only two colonies in the world. This one and one in WA. There are only 12,000 left. As we walked down to the beach we saw some resting in the dunes. They have such a cute face.

 We were not allowed to get too close to them for both their safety and ours.

 Mum and and young ones resting and keeping warm.

 Young males arguing over a female.

 The female that has caught the eye of the bulls.

 "Okay you're mine honey." "You have to catch me first. I'm out of here."

A 30 second video of Australian Sea Lions at kangaroo Island.

Another one snoozing under the board walk. Then it was back in the coach for yet more wild life visits. (next post)

Sunday, August 14, 2016


After travelling for 12 days through some of the most remote parts of Australia, we arrived back in civilisation in Darwin. Darwin is the capital city of the Northern Territory, it is the most northern city in Australia. It is tropical with hot temperatures all year round and lots of rain in the wet season, our summer. It is not a large city but very modern because it had to be rebuilt after the cyclone,"Tracy" completely destroyed the whole city in 1974. Our tour with 'Outback Spirit" ended with a bus tour of Darwin and a visit to the Military Museum.

This house was one of the few that survived the cyclone. It has been kept as an example of the type of homes that used to be in Darwin before the cyclone. New ones are built to cyclone standards and are more modern.

After we said goodbye to our tour companions, Ann, George and I continued our holiday for a few more days. Firstly, we joined a half day "Ultimate Tour".  We were picked up at the hotel and driven to the airport, where we boarded a small float plane , which took us south of Darwin into the wilderness and landed on "Sweets Lagoon".

In the lagoon there was a big pontoon with a boat, a helicopter and an airboat waiting for us.

There were 10 of us on the tour, which started with a relaxing cruise on the pristine lagoon. We also enjoyed a BBQ Barramundi fish lunch.

When we returned to the pontoon we were divided into groups. Some went on the airboat and some in the helicopter. 

The first ride in the airboat was a fast lap where we zoomed around the lagoon at speed and then we entered the wetlands and zoomed around the trees. It was exhilarating and wet.

At one point the driver slowed and stopped and fed these wild pigs.

We returned to the pontoon and then boarded the helicopter without doors, which is good for photography if you are game to let go of the widow edge.

The young pilot buzzed along the lagoon the tipped on its side as we turned towards a patch of termite mounds. It was exciting even if a bit scary.

We came down for a closer look.

We actually landed for a few minutes to see how big these mounds were, they were as tall as the helicopter. Then we zoomed between the mounds back up into the sky.

We looked down and could see the others in the airboat returning from the wetlands.

Then we were back at the pontoon and boat. When the airboat returned all the tour group boarded it for a more leisurely tour into the rain forest. It was an amazing trip into a deep dark spooky world where we saw prehistoric crocodiles.

They came very close to the boat. One actually jumped out of the water with its jaws wide open showing us its menacing teeth and pink tongue. Luckily we were protected by a wire fence around the boat and a ranger with a long pole.

They glide so quietly and almost submerged, they are hard to see.

It was the most amazing ride I have had. The scenery and wildlife was like out of another world.

We returned to the pontoon and waited for the float plane to take us back to Darwin. While we were waiting the crew were trying to feed fish to  the Sea Eagles.

Finally one came down and plucked the fish from the hand of a crew member.

Then it was time to go.

The sun was setting as we returned to the airport.

I was sitting right behind the pilot. It was fun. Wow! What an adventure. I would recommend this tour to anyone visiting Darwin.